Spin This: June 7
The Wooden Birds—Two Matchsticks: A few years ago, Andrew Kenny broke up his beloved band American Analog Set, moved back to Austin from Brooklyn, and set about on a new project. The result: the Wooden Birds, a confident second act for a truly understated songwriter. While American Analog Set traded in dreamy, wispy folk-rock, the Wooden Birds are more muscular thanks to a solid rhythm section and Kenny’s emphasis on keeping that tempo at a steady pace. This week sees the release of their second album, featuring help from a number of guests including Matt Pond of Matt Pond PA. Take a listen to the title track below.
The Wooden Birds — “Two Matchsticks”
Other notable releases:
Joe Ely—Satisfied At Last: Ely has spent a lifetime building up his drifter persona, oscillating between full-ahead country-rock and more introspective folk-blues. As evidenced by the title, Ely’s found some peace in his fourth decade of making music. He’s still a well-spring of Texas music, though, and the new album features a grab-bag of sounds from all over his career, including rock, blues, country, conjunto, and others.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.—It’s a Corporate World: The latest internet sensation (thanks in no small part to that cheeky name) can actually back up their hype. After a string of well-received EPs and remixes, the synth-pop (emphasis on the latter) releases their debut this week.
Arctic Monkeys—Suck It And See: 2006’s Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was a bonafide hit both here in the States and in the Monkeys’ native England. It became the fastest selling debut in the UK’s history, buoyed by the jagged dance-punk of songs like “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor.” However, since then the group has had its ups and downs, even going so far as to co-opt a heavier sound for 2009’s Humbug. Early listens reveal a band that’s dialed down the seriousness of their past few years in favor of that dry humor and irresistible rhythms they employed earlier in their career.
Battles—Gloss Drop: This New York group somehow made experimental metal an accessible, danceable thing back in 2007 with their debut full-length, Mirrored. It was largely on the strength of “Atlas,” a chugging, shapeshifting tune that’s pretty far out, sounding like a call-to-arms for some futuristic sporting event. Since then, the group has been whittled down to a trio, and their second album promises even more of a pop influence. However, with a band as inventive as Battles, that pop influence will still be something strange.
Black Lips—Arabia Mountain: For years, Atlanta’s Black Lips have done things completely their way. The group is known for their insane live shows, often devolving into mosh pits filled with beer, blood, and fireworks. But for their sixth album, the band finally decided to use an outside producer to capture their garage-punk sound, drawing help from Mark Ronson and Deerhunter’s Lockett Pundt. The result is still an unhinged Stooges-like sound, but with some of the rough edges tempered a bit.
Sondre Lerche—Sondre Lerche: The Norwegian singer-songwriter has dabbled in jazz, psych, and bossa nova in the past, but on his sixth he’s going for a raw, off-the-cuff sensibility. Drummer McKenzie Smith of Midlake guests.
Dawes—Nothing Is Wrong: Formerly called Simon Dawes, this L.A. quartet has soaked up their Laurel Canyon surroundings in a big way. Golden harmonies and melodies abound on their second album, a stately collection of folk rock.
Givers—In Light: Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, the young quintet Givers revels in their homegrown sound. Drawing from zydeco, Cajun, and traditional African music, Givers mixes it all together into a upbeat, optimistic collection of songs on their strong debut album.
Cults—Cults: Using found sounds and an otherworldly aesthetic, Cults released “Go Outside” last year to much blog acclaim. Their brand of sugary bubblegum is tempered with a dark edge, no more so on their debut, which is a collection of danceable songs with a strong undercurrent of ‘60s-derived nervous energy.